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16.12.2012 » Real Madrid 2-2 Espanyol. La Liga becomes more of a mirage

Cristiano Ronaldo devasted and powerless on his knees during a game for Real Madrid, almost about to give up on the Spanish League 2012-2013

Real Madrid got held to a draw this Sunday night at the Bernabéu, after hosting Espanyol in another La Liga weekend fixture. The "Periquitos" got the equaliser deep in the second half and frustration must be piling up within the Merengues coaching staff, since the goal came from another corner kick...

Surprising result at the Santiago Bernabéu, as Real Madrid conceded a 2-2 draw against Espanyol, despite the goals from the Portuguese players, Cristiano Ronaldo and Fábio Coentrão. José Mourinho's men have now fallen 13 points behind the league leaders Barcelona, who defeated Atletico Madrid at the Camp Nou last night, by 4-1. There's still one game left in La Liga in 2012 (scheduled for next weekend), but at this stage and having in mind the point gap difference on the top of the table, Real Madrid might very well go all-in for the UEFA Champions League and Copa del Rey campaigns, since winning the league seems to be already an impossible task to accomplish...

Cristiano Ronaldo game photos in Real Madrid vs Espanyol
Real Madrid
2-2 Espanyol goals and highlights:

The turmoil at the Bernabéu doesn't seem to be near to cease as we now approach the end of the year... This Sunday night has delivered the Merengues fans another disappointing home event, with Real Madrid proving to be uncapable of getting past Espanyol, currently ranked 19th on the league table (second last). It's the third draw Real Madrid concedes this season in La Liga, but it couldn't have come in a worst timing, since it happened right before Barcelona hosted Atletico Madrid at the Camp Nou, which could have been a great opportunity to cut distances significantly to either Barça or Atletico.

The first goal of the night was scored by Espanyol, close to the 30th minute of the 1st half. Luka Modric lost a ball in a dangerous area of the midfield, which immediatly granted the visitors' side with an opportunity to break. Verdú sent a great ball towards Sergio García, who then proved to be faster than Real Madrid defenders and fired a crossed shot to the right side of Iker Casillas, leaving the Spanish goalkeeper almost without any possible reaction. As a curious note, this has been the first goal Espanyol scores to the Merengues, since José Mourinho arrived to the club in the Summer of 2010.

Cristiano Ronaldo goal, using his cleats studs, in Real Madrid vs Espanyol, for La Liga 2012-2013

The equaliser took place still before half-time and who else but Cristiano Ronaldo to lead the Merengues troops. Modric passed the ball to Sami Khedira, who was momentaneously close to the sideline on the right. The German took his time to look into the area and sent in a perfect long cross, which Cristiano Ronaldo didn't hesitate to attack ferociously, anticipating his marker that was attempting to clear the ball by heading it away. Fortunately, Ronaldo reached the ball first and levelled things for the home side, just a few minutes before the two teams headed back to the dressing rooms.

Cristiano Ronaldo classic long shot technique, in Real Madrid 2012-2013

Despite the 1-1 result at half-time, José Mourinho was clearly unhappy with his team's performance over the first 45 minutes and sent in Angel Di María as a replacement for Mesut Ozil to approach the 2nd half in a slightly different way. The truth is the Merengues seem to have responded well to this change and ended up reaching the lead just 3 minutes after the break.

In a peculiar attacking play where all Real Madrid players involved were actually Portuguese, Fábio Coentrão ended up scoring his first official goal for the Merengues, in what was his 43rd appearance for the club. It all started in a ball that Pepe picked up on the left and that was quickly passed to Cristiano Ronaldo. The former Manchester United player held the ball for a few seconds and brilliantly assisted Fábio Coentrão, who showed up running at full throttle on his back. The left-back showed composure and beat Espanyol's goalkeeper, Francisco "Kiko" Casilla, with a right foot shot to the far post.

What happened next can surely be explained in different ways, but what must be a common factor in all of them is that Real Madrid should have sealed the game with another goal, way before reaching the ending minutes of the match. As we've seen in numerous occasions this season, if there's something where the Merengues are poor at, that's certainly at defending from set-pieces, more particularly corner kicks. Unfortunately, the 88th minute of the game was just a perfect proof of this claim and Espanyol didn't hesitate in exploiting all the home side weaknesses, just before Albín found the back of the net for the second time on the night, setting an enormously disappointing 2-2 final score at the Santiago Bernabéu. If the Spanish League was already a difficult task, after last night's performance and result, most people will now probably rely their hopes of making a good season into Real Madrid's UEFA Champions League and Copa del Rey campaigns.

Cristiano Ronaldo frustration smile, in a game for Real Madrid in 2012-2013

Real Madrid line-up vs Espanyol:

Goalkeeper: Iker Casillas
Defenders: Arbeloa, Sergio Ramos, Pepe, Fábio Coentrão
Midfielders: Xabi Alonso, Khedira, Modric
Attackers: Mesut Ozil, Cristiano Ronaldo and Callejón

Match stats provided by www.ronaldo7.net
Real Madrid
vs
Espanyol
2
Goals
2
29
Shots
12
10
Shots on goal
3
11
Corner kicks
7
10
Fouls commited
14
2
Yellow cards
4
0
Red cards
0
71%
Ball possession
29%

Cristiano Ronaldo next game for Real Madrid will be against Malaga, for the Spanish League 'La Liga', next Saturday (December 22, 2012). You can watch Malaga vs Real Madrid, Valladolid vs Barcelona, Leeds vs Chelsea and Reading vs Arsenal, all matches provided from our live football streams section.

Real Madrid next game:
Real Madrid vs Malaga
kick-off time (22-12-2012):

Jakarta (Indonesia) | GMT+8: 02:00
Spain
(Madrid) | GMT+2: 20:00
Portugal and England (Lisbon/London) | GMT+1: 19:00
Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) | GMT-1: 17:00
New York (United States) | GMT-4: 14:00
Los Angeles (United States) | GMT-7: 11:00
Beijing (China) | GMT-7: 11:00

Sources: ronaldo7.net / espn.com / realmadrid.com / teamtalk.com

Cristiano Ronaldo header from a Real Madrid corner kick against Espanyol, in La Liga 2012-2013

Cristiano Ronaldo left-foot cross, in Real Madrid 2-2 Espanyol, for La Liga 2012-2013

Mesut Ozil making an ugly face during a game for Real Madrid, in 2012-2013

Fábio Coentrão first goal for Real Madrid

Iker Casillas completely stretched to make a great save and stop for Real Madrid, in 2012-2013

Pepe showing his class as a center defender, in Real Madrid 2012-2013

Luka Modric acrobatic shot, in Real Madrid vs Espanyol, in 2012-2013

José Mourinho looking bored with the Santiago Bernabéu fans reaction, in a home game for Real Madrid, in 2012-2013

Cristiano Ronaldo kicking the ball high, after he had just scored a goal for Real Madrid, in 2012-2013

Cristiano Ronaldo touching Luka Modric hand, as both players go back to Real Madrid side

Cristiano Ronaldo thanking Mesut Ozil during a game for Real Madrid, in 2012-2013

Cristiano Ronaldo perfect ball control, in Real Madrid vs Espanyol, in 2012-2013

Cristiano Ronaldo looking happy during Real Madrid 2-2 Espanyol, at the Santiago Bernabéu, in 2012-2013

Cristiano Ronaldo running faster than Simão Sabrosa, in Real Madrid vs Espanyol, in 2012-2013

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